THE HEART OF THE LAW
“Jesus said to his disciples: Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.’” MT 5:7
As someone who has always been rather defiant, rules only appeal to me insofar as I can use
them to my advantage. If you have ever played a game for the first time against someone who
is a veteran, your veteran opponent immediately has the advantage of knowing the rules. Even
worse than playing against someone who knows the rules is playing against the person who
made the rules.
Jesus here is demonstrating his knowledge of God and the Law. I find Jesus’ answer a little
difficult to swallow. The Law isn’t just the 10 Commandments, but the whole Torah. This
includes every nitpicky piece of the Law, even the cleanliness laws that Jesus wholly ignores. It
seems that Jesus, like me, is skirting the Law because he knows it.
Looking deeper, I find greater consolation in knowing that he is following up the Beatitudes - his roadmap on how to live the Law. The 10 Commandments and the Torah are not the rules to
followers blindly, they cannot be. The emptiness of that would have choked the faith long ago.
Instead, Jesus demonstrates they exist for love. The heart of the Law is compassion for
other people. The Torah exists as a reminder of the love that God has for His people.
Sometimes when we focus on the minutiae we lose sight of that.
What are things that draw my focus away from God?
What areas of my life do I need to be reframed or reset in order to better recognize God?
With the time left in Lent where can I exercise the compassion that the Law calls me to?